Late in Wednesday’s Region 16 contest at Bob Sneller Gymnasium, it looked as if the visiting State Fair Lady Roadrunners would take the “Elston and Esbrand Express” to victory over the host Crowder Lady Roughriders.
With 2 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in regulation, State Fair freshman Dalen Tate’s split at the stripe produced a 69-61 lead for State Fair.
Crowder, however, went on to score the game’s final 12 points en route to a 73-69 victory.
Crowder freshman point guard Kourtney Shipley netted nine of her 15 points during this 12-0 shocker with a pair of trifectas, including the one that put Crowder ahead 70-69 for the home team’s first lead since the third quarter, and three put-the-game-on-ice free throws.
State Fair picked at least for them to be plagued by the turnover bug and the Lady Roadrunners’ empty possessions — their head coach Kevin Bucher’s constant barking about valuing each possession by the wayside — coupled with three straight 3-point goals by Crowder changed the entire complexion of this Region 16 contest.
Crowder improved to 8-12 overall and 1-1 Region 16, and the Lady ‘Riders successfully rebounded from Saturday’s 81-56 loss to top Region 16 team Three Rivers. Crowder returns to action Saturday on the road against Jefferson and the Lady ‘Riders look to improve on a 2-6 away record.
Jefferson owns a 5-11 and 0-2 record after Moberly dispatched Jefferson 75-63 on Wednesday.
On Wednesday night at Bob Sneller, Crowder outscored State Fair 41-21 in the first and fourth quarters, while State Fair held a 48-32 advantage in the middle quarters.
Crowder led 17-10 after one quarter and led 35-32 at halftime after the teams played the most competitive quarter, a 22-18 second quarter in favor of State Fair.
State Fair, thanks mostly to the hot shooting touch of guards Jazzmyn Elston and Monique Esbrand, took a 58-49 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Roadrunners knocked down six 3-point shots alone in the third quarter.
However, in the long run, State Fair showed the form that has the Lady Roadrunners at 4-11 overall and losers of six straight contests.
Sophomore forward Alex Vogt led Crowder with 18 points, Shipley added 15, and Elle Williams produced 12 points to keep her streak of double-digit scoring nights intact for January. Maia Wright and Maegan Bandimere each finished with eight points.
Vogt, who’s been playing her best basketball recently, finished with nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots. Wright picked up six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Bethaney Gilkey added six points, seven rebounds, and one steal off the bench.
Crowder’s shooting touch helped overcome 26 turnovers, which proved to be worst for the Lady ‘Riders when State Fair first gained and later built that lead headed into the fourth.
Crowder shot 29 for 55 (52.7 percent) overall from the field, 8-18 (44.4 percent) from 3-point range, and 7-8 (87.5 percent) from the stripe.
Could the Lady ‘Riders be on their way to playing their best basketball at the right time?
CROWDER 73, STATE FAIR 69
State Fair 10 22 26 11 — 69
Crowder 17 18 14 24 — 73
STATE FAIR (4-11, 0-3) — Monique Esbrand 19, Jasmine Williams 2, Aniya Harris 9, Sahara Bamba 2, Farah Mesidor 2, Jazzmyn Elston 22, Dalen Tate 11, Riana Lawson 2.
CROWDER (8-12, 1-1) — Tricia Wattman 0, Thathianna Sysavanh 2, Sydney Linny 0, Maegan Bandimere 8, Aubrie Ayers 4, Bethaney Gilkey 6, Maia Wright 8, Kourtney Shipley 15, Alex Vogt 18, Elle Williams 12.
3-point goals — State Fair 9 (Esbrand 4, Elston 4, Harris), Crowder 8 (Shipley 4, Bandimere 2, Williams 2).